Feature | May 07, 2014

Failure to Support Medicare Coverage for CT Lung Cancer Screening May Have Lethal Consequences

ACR continues to recommend full national coverage of these lifesaving exams

CT Lung Screening ACR Medicare Coverage

May 7, 2014 — The American College of Radiology said it is deeply disappointed at the failure of the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee (MEDCAC) to vote in support of national Medicare coverage of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for patients at high risk for lung cancer.

Based on available evidence, including National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) results, new guidelines and standards, and developing screening infrastructure — some of which MEDCAC members may not have been allowed to consider — the college continues to recommend that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provide full Medicare coverage of these lifesaving exams. Lack of national Medicare coverage for CT lung cancer screening places many Medicare beneficiaries at a potentially lethal disadvantage to those covered by private insurance regarding lung cancer survival.

In December 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended screening of asymptomatic adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack/year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that private insurers cover all medical exams or procedures that receive a grade of “B” or higher from the USPSTF without a co-pay. Somewhat inexplicably, the ACA does not specify that Medicare provide the same full national coverage for the Medicare population.

“Without national Medicare coverage for CT lung cancer screening, seniors face a two-tier coverage system in which those with private insurance will be covered for these exams and many of their lives saved, while Medicare beneficiaries are left with lesser access to these exams and placed at increased risk of dying from lung cancer. CMS needs to move for full national coverage as the USPSTF recommendations would indicate,” said Ella Kazerooni, M.D., chair of the American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening Committee.  

NLST results and those of other smaller international randomized controlled trials show that CT lung cancer screening significantly reduces lung cancer deaths. The ACR, the Lung Cancer Alliance, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and 38 other medical organizations urge CMS to provide full national coverage for high-risk patients as defined in the USPSTF and provide coverage with evidence for other high-risk patients not included in USPSTF recommendations using data collected through existing registries.

“The absence of Medicare coverage for CT lung cancer screening, as recommended by the USPSTF, penalizes many seniors and may result in lives lost. We now have a chance to strike back against the nation’s leading cancer killer, but only if people have access to these lifesaving exams. We strongly urge CMS to act on the evidence and the USPSTF recommendations to provide full national coverage of CT lung cancer screening for high-risk patients,” said Bibb Allen, M.D., FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors.

For more information: www.acr.org

Related Content

The Siemens Somatom Go.Sim computed tomography (CT) system for dedicated radiation therapy planning

The Siemens Somatom Go.Sim computed tomography (CT) system for dedicated radiation therapy planning. Image courtesy of Siemens Healthineers.

News | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 15, 2019
Siemens Healthineers debuted two computed tomography (CT) systems dedicated to radiation therapy (RT) planning at the...
Philips Showcases Integrated Radiation Oncology Portfolio at ASTRO 2019
News | Radiation Oncology | September 13, 2019
Philips will showcase its integrated radiation oncology portfolio at the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO...
Richardson Healthcare Receives CE Mark Approval for ALTA750 Canon/Toshiba CT Replacement Tube
News | Computed Tomography (CT) | September 11, 2019
Richardson Healthcare, a Division of Richardson Electronics Ltd., announced it has received CE Mark approval for the...
Bayer Introduces Medrad Stellant Flex CT Injection System
Technology | Contrast Media Injectors | September 11, 2019
Bayer announced the introduction of the Medrad Stellant Flex computed tomography (CT) injection system. Stellant Flex...
AJR Publishes Gender Affirmation Surgery Primer for Radiologists. transgender radiology images,

Scout image from contrast-enhanced CT shows erectile implant; stainless steel and silicone anchors (arrow) transfixed to pubic bone are asymmetric.

News | Orthopedic Imaging | September 05, 2019
September 5, 2019 — An ahead-of-print article published in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgen
The CT scanner might not come with protocols that are adequate for each hospital situation, so at Phoenix Children’s Hospital they designed their own protocols, said Dianna Bardo, M.D., director of body MR and co-director of the 3D Innovation Lab at Phoenix Children’s.

The CT scanner might not come with protocols that are adequate for each hospital situation, so at Phoenix Children’s Hospital they designed their own protocols, said Dianna Bardo, M.D., director of body MR and co-director of the 3D Innovation Lab at Phoenix Children’s.

Sponsored Content | Case Study | Radiation Dose Management | September 04, 2019
Radiation dose management is central to child patient safety. Medical imaging plays an increasing role in the accurate...
Medical Imaging Rates Continue to Rise Despite Push to Reduce Their Use
News | Radiology Imaging | September 03, 2019
Despite a broad campaign among physician groups to reduce the amount of medical imaging, use rates of various scans...
New Radiomics Model Uses Immunohistochemistry to Predict Thyroid Nodules

Workflow of radiomics analysis for IHC indicators. Yellow lines denote area of analysis; red lines denote ROI for radiomic features extraction. X = original image, L = low-pass filter, H = high-pass filter. Image courtesy of Jiabing Gu, et al.

News | Artificial Intelligence | September 03, 2019
Researchers have validated a first-of-its-kind machine learning–based model to evaluate immunohistochemical (IHC)...
News | Contrast Media | September 03, 2019
Researchers in South Korea have found that patients with family and personal history of allergic reactions to contrast...
Videos | Treatment Planning | August 21, 2019
This is an example of the Mirada DLCExpert deep learning software that automatically identifies organs, segments and